South Africa has several ISPs (internet service providers). These range from fully-fledged telecommunication companies to dedicated data-only companies. These service providers are essential to the country’s internet industry and keep the various economic, social, and political sectors connected to the rest of the world. Which are the best ISP providers in South Africa today?
ISPs are often evaluated in terms of their speed score (a measure of their download and upload speeds) and customer satisfaction score. The latter relies on customers’ network quality, consistency, and speed assessments. Customers are asked to rate their service providers and the different scores are averaged to arrive at the customer satisfaction score.
The best ISP providers in South Africa
Here is a look at the best internet service providers in SA today.
- Customer satisfaction score: 57.8%
- Speed score: 24.35
Rain (Pty) Ltd, commonly known as Rain, is a South African mobile communications company that provides messaging, voice, and data services. It was the country’s first data-only network before its evolution into the current multi-faceted firm. The company has a lease agreement with Vodacom to use its network towers.
On the other hand, Vodacom gets to use Rain’s 4G network. The company’s internet services start at R499 for an unlimited 5G usage.
- Customer satisfaction score: 65.1%
- Speed score: 20.04
Telkom SA SOC Ltd is a South African wireless and wireline telecommunications company with a presence in over 38 countries across Africa. The company is partially state-owned, with the government controlling a 39% stake. The rest is privately owned.
The company provides ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) retail services to individual and business clients. The company also provides wholesale internet services to other distributors and resellers. In addition, other large ISPs such as Afrihost utilize Telkom SA’s infrastructure to sell ADSL services.
Telkom has a wide range of internet services, with the cheapest unlimited fibre option starting at R399 for 25mbps. It is also among the most widely used internet service providers in South Africa.
- Customer satisfaction score: 71.7%
- Speed score: 26.87
Mweb is a South African internet service provider that has been in operation since 1997. The company is a division of Internet Solutions Digital (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Dimension Data. It is headquartered at the Mweb Building in Parow, Cape Town. Mweb provides internet services through its extensive fibre and LTE infrastructure. Its services start at R399 for 20mbps.
- Customer satisfaction score: 72.6%
- Speed score: 32.63
Vox Telecom is a South African ISP that provides FTTH (fibre-to-the-home), LTE, voice, and satellite internet services to consumers. The company provides fast and relatively affordable broadband to customers who live within the coverage area known as the Frogfoot air coverage section.
The company’s Wi-Fi-only fibre packages come in two options starting from as little as R289.
- Customer satisfaction score: 74.1%
- Speed score: 34.721
WebAfrica is one of South Africa’s largest privately-owned ISPs. The company prides itself as one of the leading independent ISPs and is renowned for its fast and reliable internet connections through the LTE, Fasterfast Fibre, and Naked ADSL platforms. WebAfrica’s unlimited internet packages start at R399 per month.
5. MTN (via Supersonic)
- Customer satisfaction score: 74.8%
- Speed score: 27.6
MTN is the largest mobile network operator in Africa, with more than 270 million customers across the continent and parts of the Middle East. In South Africa, the company provides internet services through its 5G, LTE, 4G, 3G, VoIP, and HSPA+ platforms.
MTN’s fibre-to-the-home service in South Africa is provided through an affiliate company known as Supersonic. The uncapped 10mbps package starts at R499 per month.
- Customer satisfaction score: 77.4%
- Speed score: 30.02
Axxess is an ISP that also offers hardware sales, VoIP, website hosting and e-commerce services. Franco Barbalich founded the company in 1997. He sought to provide South Africans with reliable and affordable internet access. The ISP’s uncapped fibre services start at R395 for the 10mpbs package.
- Customer satisfaction score: 78.5%
- Speed score: 32.5
RSAWEB is a well-established, South African ISP specialising in cloud services, internet provision, hosting, and enterprise-class data centre solutions. The company’s home fibre deals start at R385 for the 35Mbps package on Octotel or R395 for 25Mbps on OpenServe.
- Customer satisfaction score: 84.6%
- Speed score: 35.79
Afrihost is a South African ISP that deals in providing several services, including web hosting, ADSL broadband, fibre, fixed wireless, mobile services, and domain registration. Afrihost’s unlimited internet packages start at R497 for 25mbps to r1,347 for 500mbps.
Over the last few years, Afrihost has been among the top South African ISPs in terms of customer satisfaction, download and upload speeds, and minimal latency.
1. Cool Ideas
- Customer satisfaction score: 87.5%
- Speed score: 45.76
Cool Ideas is the fastest service provider in terms of fixed broadband speeds, making it hands down the best ISP in South Africa. The company has consistently ranked amongst the best ISPs in the country for the last few years. Today, Cool Ideas has the lowest mean latency among all top ISPs in the country. It is also the most consistent in terms of network quality.
Cool Ideas offers FTTH (fibre-to-the-home) and FTTB (fibre-to-the-business), making it the best fibre provider in South Africa. In 2021, Afrihost bought a controlling stake in the company, effectively making it the new owner of Cool Ideas. The company still maintained all its operations after the merger.
Which ISP is the best in South Africa?
Cool Ideas is the best fibre ISP in South Africa in 2023. The company is the best South African ISP, both in terms of its customer satisfaction score (87.5%) and speed score (45.76).
Is Vodacom in South Africa?
Yes, Vodacom has a huge presence in South Africa. The country was the very first market for Vodacom’s services in Africa. Since then, it has grown and expanded its operations into Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Lesotho.
How many fibre networks are there in South Africa?
There are more than 15 fibre networks in South Africa with varying prices and speeds.
What are the different types of ISP connections?
Here are the different ways one can receive an ISP’s services.
- Cable broadband
- DSL (digital subscriber line)
- Fibre-optic broadband
- Satellite and mobile broadband
- Wireless or Wi-Fi broadband
The best ISP providers in South Africa have managed to strike the perfect balance between reliable connectivity and affordability. Cool Ideas, Afrihost, and RSAWEB, have been at the top of the internet provision industry in South Africa for a few years now.
Briefly.co.za recently published an article about the cheapest uncapped Wi-Fi packages that do not involve landline installations. With the modern-day world becoming more and more interconnected, Wi-Fi has become an essential aspect of numerous homes and businesses.
Internet costs in South Africa have been dropping gradually as more ISPs continue to enter the market. Uncapped Wi-Fi packages allow the customer to use the internet without restrictions. These often come with monthly charges.
Source: Briefly News